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Media critical to Caribbean’s agri research and development

Photo: (L-R) Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy and Mr Thierry Doudet (CTA)

[CWA 2013, Georgetown, Guyana, 4 October 2013] –The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA) has recommitted to agricultural and rural development for food and nutrition security and to increase prosperity in the Caribbean.

Addressing media practitioners at the opening of a Workshop on Inclusive Evidence-Based Coverage of Agriculture and Rural Development, at the 12th Caribbean Week of Agriculture, Guyana, Thierry Doudet, CTA Manager of Knowledge Management and Communication Programme at the CTA said “strengthening the ACP agricultural and rural development policy processes and strategies is critical to impacting on the food and nutrition security and increasing rural livelihoods”. According to Mr Doudet, there is a renewed action plan to the strategic approach the way media covers agriculture and rural development issues in the Caribbean thus to enhance the way agriculture is seen in society. He said media plays a strategic role in policy development at various stages from problem identification to policy formulation, adoption, implementation and evaluation in agriculture. Mr Doudet encouraged the media in the Caribbean to continue working with the scientists and other stakeholders in agriculture to have an informed public.

Dr Leslie Ramsammy, Minister of Agriculture, Guyana, applauded CTA’s commitment to the Caribbean in agricultural research and development (ARD). Dr Ramsammy noted that external agencies are taking greater interest in the Caribbean’s ARD. He calls for the region to commit to strengthen agricultural research in the region. “We have to aspire to be hunger-free by 2025 to put us at a high income level. We cannot achieve that if agricultural research does not play a role. Currently, the regional commitment to research collectively represents 0.1 per cent of our GDP”.

Mr Maurice Wilson, Scientist, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute raise concern that society underestimates the importance of media’s role in agriculture, “media has a key role in changing perceptions of their own role in food and nutrition security”.

Association of Caribbean MediaWorkers President, Wesley Gibbings emphasised the need for media to take on board the benefits of evidence base journalism, urging journalists present to “wake up and shake our societies, take them out of their comfort zone on the issues of food nutrition and security”.